South Africa vs India 2018: AB de Villiers' dismissal is SK Turning Point of the match
During the course of his golden career, the legendary Shane Warne mastered the art of pinning opposition batsmen with his flipper. Since his retirement, not many leg-spinners have been able to use the quicker delivery to devastating effect.
However, in the sixth ODI between South Africa and India, Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed AB de Villiers with a special delivery that would have made Warne immensely proud. On a rock hard surface at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, the 27-year old leg-spinner unleashed a well delivered flipper to clean bowl the fanciful South African batting icon.
Following de Villiers' dismissal, South Africa imploded yet again to limp to a paltry total. Riding on skipper Virat Kohli's 35th ODI century, India cruised to the target in an emphatic manner and completed a memorable 5-1 series triumph.
AB and Zondo attempt to offset early blows
Having won the toss, India opted to bowl first in order to test their mettle in a run-chase. Entering into the playing eleven at the expense of the rested Bhuvneshwar Kumar, seamer Shardul Thakur hit the deck hard to trouble the South African top-order. After taking out Hashim Amla with a short ball, he removed Aiden Markram with a slower one.
At 43/2 towards the end of the tenth over, the Proteas' fortunes were placed in a precarious position. The experienced de Villiers joined hands with Khaya Zondo and began to revive the innings. The duo pounced on the slightest errors in length from the Indian seamers.
Showing deftness in foot work, Zondo scored consecutive boundaries off Kuldeep Yadav. Sensing the need to up the pressure, Kohli brought on Chahal from the other end to double the wrist-spin threat. Although one of those was a streaky four, AB de Villiers hammered three successive boundaries against Kuldeep.
Chahal's flipper deceives de Villiers
Chahal almost broke the partnership when he coerced Zondo to play across the line. However, an inside-edge and consequent use of the Decision Review System (DRS) saved the 27-year old batsman.
Zondo began to revert some pressure on the leg-spinner by smashing a couple of wayward deliveries into the stands. Alongside de Villiers, he had helped take South Africa to 105/2 in the 21st over of the innings.
Watch Yuzvendra Chahal's flipper castling de Villiers here
In the penultimate delivery of the 21st over, Chahal provided India with a major breakthrough. Even as he was getting into his delivery stride, de Villiers backed away from the stumps to make room for himself. Expecting the ball to turn away from him, the innovative right-hander set himself up nicely for the cut shot.
To de Villiers' dismay, Chahal was quick to adjust. The wily leg-spinner unfurled a quicker and flatter delivery at the stumps. The rapidness as well as accuracy of the flipper caught the right-hander off guard. While he still went for the cut shot, the ball evaded his arc and crashed onto the stumps. The leg-spinner celebrated the prized scalp by bringing out the dab.
South Africa lose their way
After making a 34-ball 30 inclusive of four boundaries, an outclassed de Villiers had to depart to the dressing room. A blossoming partnership worth 62 runs for the third wicket was broken by Chahal's flipper. What followed was an all too familiar tale as South Africa collapsed yet again in this series.
The Indian bowlers kept picking wickets at regular intervals and prevented the Proteas from rebuilding the innings. When Zondo perished to Chahal's bowling after scoring his maiden ODI fifty, the proverbial final nail was in the coffin. Despite some late resistance from Andile Phehlukwayo and Morne Morkel, South Africa were shot out for 204 with more than three overs left in the innings.
As he has done so often in his stellar ODI career thus far, Kohli added another ton to his burgeoning collection of centuries in run-chases. Showing remarkable control right throughout, the star batsman led from the front to anchor India's pursuit. The 'Men in Blue' eventually sauntered to a comprehensive eight-wicket victory and completed their dominance over the Proteas in the six-match ODI series.